From statistics to individual characterization of exoplanets
The field of exoplanetary science has changed gear from the investigation of individual objects to statistical studies. In this talk, I discuss both the statistical approach and individual atmospheric characterization.
The Kepler mission has revealed an extraordinary and unprecedented number of small exoplanet candidates. However, a fundamental question remains about the overwhelmingly large sample of Kepler candidates: are these objects bona-fide planets? I will discuss the methods that we are employing to tackle this problem.
Answers to key questions about exoplanet science come not only from statistics, but also from individual characterization. Observations of their atmospheres are the only effective way at present to address the composition of exoplanets quantitatively and, by necessity, remotely. I present an ongoing comparative exoplanetology programs to characterize planetary systems transiting nearby stars through the observations of their atmospheres. These projects provides powerful insights into the formation and evolution of planetary systems in general and enhances our understanding of our own solar system's formation. I also discuss the prospect of probing rocky exoplanet atmospheres orbiting in the habitable zone of their parent stars with future facilities.
Date: Thursday, 27 September 2012 Time: 11:30 Where: Université de Montréal Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, local D-460 Contact: David Lafrenière